Black Bird Bookstore

In Conversation: Tara Conklin and Sasha Vasilyuk

Join authors Sasha Vasilyuk and Tara Conklin in conversation, discussing Tara's book Community Board, community in the digital age, and how returning to where you grew up is never as expected.

About Community Board (pre-order the paperback, out April 2nd, here)Darcy Clipper, prodigal daughter, nearly thirty, has returned home to Murbridge, Massachusetts, after her life takes an unwelcome left turn. Murbridge, Darcy is convinced, will welcome her home and provide a safe space in which she can nurse her wounds and harbor grudges, both real and imagined.

But Murbridge, like so much else Darcy thought to be fixed and immutable, has changed. And while Darcy’s first instinct might be to hole herself up in her childhood bedroom, subsisting on Chef Boy-R-Dee and canned chickpeas, it is human nature to do two things: seek out meaningful human connection and respond to anonymous internet postings. As Murbridge begins to take shape around Darcy, both online and in person, Darcy will consider the most fundamental of American questions: What can she ask of her community? And what does she owe it in return?

Tara Conklin is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Community Board, The Last Romantics and The House Girl, as well as personal essays and short stories. Her books have been selected by Read with Jenna (the Today Show book club), Barnes & Noble book club, Target book club, as a #1 IndieNext Pick and other accolades. Her work has been translated into 8 languages. Tara is based in Seattle.

About Your Presence is Mandatory (pre-order, out April 23rd, here): A riveting debut novel, based on real events, about a Ukrainian World War II veteran with a secret that could land him in the Gulag, and his family who are forced to live in the shadow of all he has not told them.

Ukraine, 2007. Yefim Shulman, husband, grandfather and war veteran, was beloved by his family and his coworkers. But in the days after his death, his widow Nina finds a letter to the KGB in his briefcase. Yefim had a lifelong secret, and his confession forces them to reassess the man they thought they knew and the country he had defended.

In 1941, Yefim is a young artillerist on the border between Soviet Union and Germany, eager to defend his country and his large Jewish family against Hitler's forces. But surviving the war requires sacrifices Yefim never imagined-and even when the war ends, his fight isn't over. He must conceal his choices from the KGB and from his family. Spanning seven decades between World War II and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, Your Presence Is Mandatory traces the effect Yefim's coverup had on the lives of Nina, their two children and grandchildren.

From Germany's prison camps and forced labor system to the Soviet culture of pride and paranoia, Sasha Vasilyuk shines a light on one family caught between two totalitarian regimes, and the grace they find in the course of their survival.

Sasha Vasilyuk has written a lot about Eastern Europe, art, culture, travel and business. Besides writing, she has founded a leading wedding PR company, the first coworking space in San Francisco, and the first U.S. magazine for Russian-speaking emigre teens. She also spent a year traveling alone around the world. Sasha is a graduate of Lowell High School, UC Berkeley (BA in Comparative Literature and Italian Studies), and New York University (MA in Journalism). She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Doors at 6:30pm | Free